Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. This year Ramadan will be starting around 5 May.
Doctors at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging residents to stay safe and well during this period. The fast lasts from dawn to dusk, and this year that means nearly 19 hours of no food or drink passing the lips.
Dr Pervez Muzzafar, a local GP who will himself be fasting said:
“Ramadan is a period of spiritual reflection and anyone suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, lung diseases and arthritis or those taking medications, require more planning and discipline to observe the fast.
“Please seek advice about your disease and medications as this is extremely important so that your doses can be assessed.
“It is important to make sure you have two meals a day; sehr and iftar. Also avoid or limit your intake of deep fried food such as pakoras and samosas and high sugar desserts. You can replace these foods with plenty of fruit, fibre and fluid to keep well hydrated and energetic.”
For many people Ramadan is a good time to consider stopping smoking for good or making permanent changes to their diet long-term to help with healthy eating and weight loss.
The key to maintaining health during Ramadan, especially if it takes place during warm weather, is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water when not fasting. Excessive caffeine should be avoided.
Signs of dehydration to look out for include producing little or no urine, feeling faint, disorientated or confused and having a persistent and severe headache.
If you feel ill during your fast, make sure you seek medical help as soon as possible and do not leave it for too late, especially if you are diabetic or suffer from kidney diseases. If you are in any doubt, please consult your pharmacist or GP to avoid any complications. Have a very happy and healthy Ramadan from both Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCGs.